A Difficult Journey: Reflections on Driving and Driving Cessation From a Team of Clinical Researchers

Gerontologist. 2017 Feb;57(1):82-88. doi: 10.1093/geront/gnw079. Epub 2016 Apr 21.

Abstract

Recognizing the clinical importance and safety and well-being implications for the population, a multidisciplinary team has been researching older drivers and driving cessation issues for more than 15 years. Using empirical approaches, the team has explored quality of life and participation outcomes related to driving and nondriving for older people and has developed interventions to improve outcomes after driving cessation. The team members represent occupational therapists, medical practitioners, and clinical and neuropsychologists. While building the evidence base for driving- and driving cessation-related clinical practice, the researchers have also had first-hand experiences of interruptions to their own or parents' driving; involvement of older family members in road crashes; and provision of support during family members' driving assessment and cessation. This has led to reflection on their understandings and re-evaluation and refocusing of their perspectives in driving cessation research. This work will share the narratives of the authors and note their developing perspectives and foci within research as well as their clinical practice. Personal reflections have indicated the far-reaching implications for older drivers and family members of involvement in road crashes: the potential for interruptions to driving as a time for support and future planning and the conflicting and difficult roles of family members within the driving cessation process. Overall the lived, personal experience of the authors has reinforced the complex nature of driving and changes to driving status for the driver and their support team and the need for further research and support.

Keywords: Ageism; Driving; Function/mobility; Transportation.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic
  • Aged*
  • Automobile Driving*
  • Family
  • Humans
  • Mass Media
  • Public Opinion
  • Research Personnel
  • Risk
  • Safety*